PhD (Humanities)/MA


Medical Humanities is a thriving and distinctive field, closely linked to Health Care Ethics. Some of the most important recent works of literature, nonfiction, and popular culture, including The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksHow We DieCutting for Stone, Silent Spring, Five Days at Memorial, as well as TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, ER, and many more have been works of Medical Humanities. Students interested in studying the humanities through a health care ethics framework can now apply to this dual degree which represents a unique model of interdisciplinary graduate education in our region and at our university.

With a blended curriculum in which each program's core courses count as the electives in the other, the dual degree program in Medical Humanities reduces by 24 hours the time and the cost to earn the two degrees. With a focus on either cultural studies or creative expression, the PhD in Humanities complements the study of Health Care Ethics and interdisciplinary studies at the doctoral level.

Cost and Funding

Students who participate in the dual program can reduce the aggregate credit hour requirement by 24 hours and earn both degrees in under five calendar years - resulting in cost and time savings. Students in the dual degree are eligible to be considered for the Graduate Assistantship through the MA program as well as for the Graduate Teaching Assistantship through the Humanities PhD program.

Application Process

A student planning to pursue both degrees must submit separate applications and must be admitted to both the Humanities PhD program and the Graduate School. Application materials need not be submitted twice, but in order to be considered for the dual degree program candidates must still complete an application to the Graduate School. This includes a new 2-4 page personal statement answering the question: “Why have you decided to pursue a dual degree which focuses on Health Care Ethics?” Completed applications should be received before the January 15th deadline.

Application instructions for the PhD program can be found here.


Careful curriculum planning is required for this dual degree, so students will work closely with advisors from both schools. The Humanities program will apply 12 credit hours in Health Care Ethics as Area of Specialization courses, and seven credit hours of approved Humanities graduate courses will count as electives for the MA degree.


The MA is a thriving and vibrant program with lots of activities and opportunities to meet with people who share your interest in the intersection of health care and the humanities. Also, the Humanities graduate student organization, the Association for Humanities Academics, welcomes dual degree students. If you are interested in the dual degree please contact us as early as possible so we can include you in our community!